Before that, though, Ocasio-Cortez may have a crucial role to play in the presidential election. If, as she recently hinted, she fully supports Biden against Trump in the coming months, Ocasio-Cortez “could be the bridge between the Sanders and Biden campaign,” journalist Julio Varela told me. Varela sent me a link to one of Ocasio-Cortez’s recent Instagram Live chats, a 45 minute conversation with her more than four million followers in which she candidly shares her thoughts on Sanders’ string of defeats on March 10. “There no sugarcoating it,” she says. “Tonight’s a tough night electorally.” She seems slightly subdued but never angry, solemn or somber. “It’s all about her deep appeal with young people and how she communicates with them,” Varela told me.
Come fall, Ocasio-Cortez’s instinctual understanding of younger Americans could be crucial for the Biden campaign, which has utterly failed to woo Democratic voters under 45. But bridging the generational divide is only part of what Ocasio-Cortez could bring to Biden. Perhaps more than with any other group, Ocasio-Cortez could play a crucial role in untangling Biden’s complicated relationship with Latino voters, laid bare at two particularly awkward moments during Sunday’s debate, when Biden carelessly referred to undocumented immigrants as “aliens” and then simply chose to ignore the very relevant question of why his message hadn’t resonated with Hispanics.
Truth is, Biden indeed has a problem with the Latino electorate, especially younger voters. During the primaries, Biden’s Latino outreach has been as disappointing as his approach to African American voters has been stellar. Rather than having the former vice-president appeal to the community himself, the Biden campaign has relied on ineffective surrogates.